Israel likely to skip next UN racism conference

Israel will almost surely boycott the next UN racism conference in Geneva, its ambassador said Wednesday, warning that the meeting is likely to sink into the same anti-Semitism that prompted the US and Israel to walk out of the last one seven years ago. Itzhak Levanon, the Jewish state's departing US envoy in Geneva, said the event April 20-25, would need to be completely reworked for Israel to participate. But with Libya chairing preparations and Iran and Cuba also involved, Levanon said the Geneva follow-up to the contentious 2001 conference in the South African city of Durban had the making of another international "bashing of Israel." "We want them to discuss human rights, and not only focus on Israel and turning this into an anti-Semitic event," he said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We will attend the meeting only if there is a radical, substantive change."